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UFC Smaller Cage Betting Trends

We are beginning to see a new normal in our daily lives and in sports as we start to move forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeing play with limited roar of the crowds and there have been some interesting betting trends for the UFC for events without fans.

The promotion has been holding events at its Apex Performance Center. This venue has a smaller Octagon than we are accustomed to and because of the smaller area, we have seen an uptick in finishes, which is good for your “fight not to go the distance” wagers.

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Why Use a Smaller Cage And What’s The Difference?

There have been 38 events held at the Apex Center, which has a 25-foot cage compared to the 30-foot cage that is more regularly used. The venue is essentially a training center for the athletes and is used for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter, so the full-size cage isn’t exactly needed.

So what’s the big deal, you may ask?

UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik, the best in the business in my opinion, tweeted out that the 25-foot cage is 30.5 percent smaller than the larger cage.

Smaller Cage = More Action

The smaller Octagon doesn’t just benefit a striker, as you may assume. Sure, there is less room to move and if you’re not sharp on your footwork, you can quickly find yourself against the cage facing a barrage of strikes. That said, it also works for a grappler to be able to close the distance more effectively and get the fight to the floor, or push an opponent up against the cage to work toward a takedown.

There have been 413 fights over the 38 events at the UFC Apex Center and in 24 events, we had equal or more finishes than decisions. To put that in perspective, only two other cards in all of 2020 had more knockouts and submissions than fights going to the judges’ scorecards in the larger cage. UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs Burns, the first event at the Apex Center, had four submission finishes, tied for the third-most on a UFC card during the year behind UFC on Fight Island 2: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2 and UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs Hill, which both had five submission wins.

Smaller Cage vs Larger Cage
Cage Size Fights Knockouts Submissions Decisions Finish Percentage
25 Foot 413* 132 73 202 49.00
30 Foot 226** 68 34 121 45.8

*Two fights in the 25-foot cage had a disqualification and three were no contests 

**Two fights in the 30-foot cage had disqualifications and one fight was a no contest

Favorites Continue To Cash

Not only are we seeing high-paced action in the smaller cage but it has been the betting favorites who are leading the dance. There have been 412 fights at the Apex Center, four of which had pick’em odds, three were no contests and six finished as draws. So of the 399 bouts with a clear favorite and underdog, the favorite has won 261 times, good for 65.3 percent. That is slightly less than in the 30-foot cage, where faves have won 65.4 percent of the fights.

Smaller Cage vs Larger Cage
Cage Size Fights Favorite Win Underdog Win
25 Foot 413* 261 139
30 Foot 226** 144 76

*Four fights in the 25-foot cage had pick’em odds, three were no contests and six fights ended in a draw

**In the 30-foot cage, there was one fight with a no contest, two fights ending in a draw and three fights with pick’em odds